Like many things in our universe, radio transmissions get more interesting the more you think about them. Without them, we obviously wouldn't have radio stations or radar, but they're also behind some of the technologies we take most for granted, like cell phones, satellite navigation, and Wi-Fi (or pretty much anything wireless). At face value, … Continue reading How Does Radio Transmission Work?
Since the Fourth of July is pretty much synonymous with fireworks for me and my United States readers, it seemed like the perfect time to research something I was curious about myself—how do fireworks displays work? What I'm talking about here goes beyond the basics of fireworks themselves. That's pretty simple to explain, and it … Continue reading It’s Full of Stars!
This was going to be the title of Friday's post, and then I realized I had written about a lot of things besides the engineering of Stonehenge, which I decided still deserved its own post. I think of this aspect of studying Stonehenge as tackling the "what?" question, which is really the one we have … Continue reading Stonehengineering
Stonehenge is one of prehistory's engineering marvels. Many of us picture it as a ruined circle of stone, associated with druids, all kinds of astronomical observations, and maybe even magic. Unfortunately, most of that image is probably inaccurate. Fortunately, though, there is plenty of evidence that Stonehenge was both important and impressive. One of the … Continue reading Stonehenge: Almost Definitely Not Built by Aliens
Settle in for another episode of the critically acclaimed (OK, emphasis on critical) Skeptical Science Theater 3000! Will we ever invent it? What consequences might it have for the basic framework of cause and effect, the scientific method as we know it, and life itself? Today's topic: time travel! Mechanical Engineer Husband (MEH): That was … Continue reading Skeptical Science Theater 3000: Time Travel
I don't want to inundate you with language topics, but it's not exactly a secret that this is one of my favorite things to learn about, so I'm hoping I can make it one of yours too! As I was reading about Elvish languages for my recent post on constructed languages, I learned a … Continue reading Double Featural: Tengwar and Hangul
I was delighted the other day by a few different articles about an artificial neural network that had been given the task of naming a bunch of guinea pigs up for adoption at the Portland Guinea Pig Rescue. Some of the names are pretty appropriate guinea-piggy names like Fuzzable, Nuzzy, and Fabsy, while others were … Continue reading A Rosuflem by Any Other Name
There's a persistent myth that you may have seen before in the guise of news. It claims to cite a study from the World Health Organization (WHO) showing that naturally blond hair will be a thing of the past within a few hundred years. When we dig into the history of this story—or, more accurately, … Continue reading The Mysterious Myth of the Disappearing Blonds
For a word lover, there are few thrills like learning about all the bizarre twists and turns that have occurred over the centuries in any language's development. In fact, one of the few things that could compare would be to create your own language, with all your favorite features. Want to combine the tense system … Continue reading Languages Under Construction
You'll notice I didn't say "terraforming," even though that's what we usually think of in connection with human colonies beyond Earth. Really, there's a whole range of possibilities for how we might survive on other worlds, and only some of them involve remaking a whole planet. Usually I focus on one book, but this time … Continue reading Science in Fiction: Kim Stanley Robinson and Living on Other Planets